Pellet smokers and grills are trending and becoming more common in home backyards and outdoor kitchens every day. Perhaps you were gifted a nice pellet smoker or pellet grill, and because you have the best friends and family in the world, they also gave you a few bags of wood pellets.
Now you are scratching your head trying to figure out a good wood pellet storage solution. How to store your smoker pellets so that they last and remain intact?
Wood Pellet Storage
Sometimes we want to try different pellet flavors and open multiple bags; while this is fun, it also means that now you have multiple opened pellet bags lying around the house. Most pellet manufacturers use natural products and ingredients without preservatives, meaning pellets can lose their flavor, shape, and effectiveness if left exposed to humidity and the elements.
In this article, I will give you a few tips on how to store your smoker or grill pellets so they last, and you can store hours of fun and be ready for the next cook.
What are wood pellets, and why do they need to be stored properly
Most manufacturers recycle trees at the end of their life and use special equipment to create fine wood dust from the trees.
Cooking or smoking wood pellets are made from wood sawdust and, in some cases, a by-product of industrial operations. Pellets are found in different flavors, including apple, mesquite, and hickory. A pound of pellets can last about an hour or more, depending on the cooking temperature.
Wood sawdust is compressed to make the pellet, and by compressing the wood, it burns slower when heated, thus generating more smoke and lasting longer. If you throw wood dust on fire, it will burn very quickly and turn to ash rapidly.
Why Should You Store Wood Pellets Properly
I’m sure you have owned a piece of compressed wood cabinetry, perhaps a desk, dresser, or bedroom furniture, at some point in your life. I’m also sure you have likely seen how compressed wood “bubbles up” when you spill your favorite beer all over it. Yeah, I’ve done it too.
Compressed wood loves water and humidity. Pressed wood acts like a sponge when exposed to moisture, and the same effect applies to compressed wood pellets. The goal when storing pellets is to keep them as dry as possible when stocking and storing your pellets for long periods.
Most pellet manufacturers only use real wood without preservatives or chemicals, meaning it can lose its flavor over time. Using a seal-tight container to store the pellets might extend its life.
Storing Methods, Ideas, and Tips-How to store wood pellets for smoking
1. Keep The Bag
The first and obvious method is to leave the pellets in the bag. However, it is hard to keep the pellets nice and sealed the bag at all times or until needed. This is not always favorable as bags can tear, and it is hard to create an air-tight seal. Also, many of us like to cook different kinds of meats using different wood pellet flavors. So if you have an apple bag and a hickory bag, you might need to open both when switching from cooking chicken to ribs or brisket.
Using the packaging might not be the best way to store smoker pellets, but it is the cheapest. However, the shipping bag might do the job in less humid environments. Still, I recommend monitoring the pellets every once in a while when using the shipping bag for pellet storage.
TIP: Try to keep the bags away from moisture, mold, or wet floors. Using the bag might not sound ideal, but rolling the bag tight and using a few clamps might do the trick in dry environments. If you plan on using the remaining pellets in the bag in a few days and storing the pellets inside your home where the air conditioner controls the humidity, you should be fine.
2. Use Buckets
3. Use Pellet Storage Container
Storing Wood Pellets Outside
When storing your wood pellets outside, you will have to account for the elements, including rain, humidity, and sunlight. If storing the pellets outdoors is your only option, I recommend investing in a seal-tight bucket. Buckets with rubber seals designed to evade humidity will work best not only in humid climates but outside overall.
Some suggestions are using 5-gallon buckets from your local hardware store. However, our advice is to use containers with weather or humidity seals to keep the water out, especially if you will be storing the pellets outdoors or in basements.
A cool trick you can try is attaching the packing bag to the outside of the container or bucket to mark which pellet flavor is stored in the bucket. Many BBQ Pellet companies sell buckets and containers to store grill pellets, but a simple air-tight container will work.
Plastic buckets make great wood pellet storage containers. There are grill brands selling their own options but I have researched and generic 5-gallon buckets are at least 50 percent less expensive.
Storing Wood Pellets Indoors
So, What is the best way to store wood pellets
The best way to store wood pellets is using an air-tight wood pellet container. These containers can be found easily online and are the best way to keep the wood pellets fresh and dry.
The second best option is to use 5-gallon plastic buckets. An ordinary 5-gallon bucket makes a good enough seal to keep the wood pellets dry.
The bucket option will save you money. 🙂
How long can you store wood pellets?
If the pellets absorb moisture, they will come apart and start to break down into sawdust, rendering them useless. If the humidity percentage is in the 10 to 15 percent range, wood pallets can last up to six months. If the humidity is higher than ten percent, the pellets can last one to three months.
Can you leave pellets in the hopper?
If you plan to use your grill often or cook almost every day, you can leave pellets in the hopper. However, keep in mind that hoppers are not airtight boxes, and moisture can get in quickly. The hopper is not meant for pellet storage. If you will not be using the grill soon or the grill is in a high humidity environment, the pellets might not last long in the hopper.
One Last Word
Storing smoker wood pellets is not complicated; the main goal is to keep the pellets dry and preferably tightly sealed to keep the pellets from losing their natural flavor. The storing method doesn’t have to be complicated. Suppose you use outdoor spaces like your garage or backyard; use airtight buckets to store the pellets. A pellet grill’s hopper is not the best place to store wood pellets, but it is not bad if you plan on cooking often, especially in dry environments.
Enjoy Life, Get Grilling!